How to keep repurposed content out of legal hot water

User-generated images and other materials are popular ways of raising brand awareness and fan engagement. Just be careful. There are several steps to take to protect yourself.

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The selfie is no longer confined to the social sphere.

Brands are showcasing and reusing customer photos and videos on websites, in e-newsletters, and in advertising, turning customers into content creators. But user-generated content campaigns come with very real legal exposure for brands that do not put in place the proper customer permissions to make their campaigns legally compliant.

Brand managers who overlook proper permissions or forget to properly publicize that a campaign is a promotion can receive both customer backlash and Federal Trade Commission scrutiny.

Although no one wants the feds breathing down their neck, marketers are not going to give up remarkably effective user-generated content campaigns. According to Offerpop data, companies that launch campaigns to generate UGC, particularly photos and videos, showcase an astounding 44.3 percent of content claimed by the consumer. Instead of approaching a customer, the customer approaches a brand and provides rich data and valuable content.

But how does a brand obtain the necessary permissions to repurpose this content without making it a cumbersome process? Clarity, calls to action, and incentives are key.

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